Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Woodchat Shrike at Algarrobo Costa

Wednesday 1 April

Mouth of the Rio Algarrobo
The torrential rain, even more during the night, has finally taken a break, but for how long?  Time to get my weekly exercise by walking the kilometre to Lidl's by using the sea front paseo and, again, not a sole in sight.  Why this way rather than the main road?  Most of the house are second homes so nobody likely to be about compared with walking past residential properties and, of course, always the chance that there might be a bird or two to see during two kilometre round trip which should take up to about twenty minutes each way.

And was I right to do  when I left the house at about 10.30.  A Sardinian Warbler took off from next door's ground terrace and a Blackbird came calling down the main pathway between the houses towards the beach and gardens.  One minute after leaving I was on the front and in time to witness the fifty plus Mediterranean Gulls on the beach before carrying on towards the footbridge over the normally dry Rio Algarrobo.  Approaching the bridge a couple of Feral Pigeons landed on the beach and I could hear the first Collared Dove of the morning.

Woodchat Shrike Lanius senator
As I stepped onto the bridge steps I could see a bird resting n the wire that passed near the apex of the bridge.  Strange looking sparrow and too large to be a Stonechat.  The light was not good, and no binoculars. but as I reached the top of the steps i could make out the ginger cap and realised that I was looking at my first Woodchat Shrike of the year.  Why oh why did I not put the camera in the shopping trolley?  (Shopping trolley rather than bags as I knew I intended to stop on the bridge to check out the beach.)  The bird may have flown off but looking down below me I had a couple of Spotless Starlings collecting nesting materials along with a score of Monk Parakeets feeding on the "grass" seeds.

From the footbridge showing the wire used by the Woodchat Shrike

On the shore itself at the mouth of the river which had now broken through to the sea, at least thirty Mediterranean along with a handful of both Lesser Black-backed and Black-headed Gulls. And as I looked beyond the gulls a single Cormorant flew eastwards and came to rest on the water just off the shore.

Mainly Mediterranean Larus melanocephalus with at least one Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus to be seen
Crossing the bridge I came across a few House Sparrows and more Black-headed Gulls on the water's edge in front of me.  Shopping completed, I was back onto the paseo for the return walk home.  No Woodchat Shrike on this occasion but more Collared Doves and House Sparrows.  From the top of the bridge I counted twenty-two Monk Parakeets below and a lone Barn Swallow feeding over the water  slightly upstream from my bridge.

Rio Algarrobo looking upstream and where the Barn Swallow was feeding

No gulls on the beach but as I arrived at my turning away from the paseo and to my nearby house i could not but stop and count the now sixty plus Mediterranean Gulls resting on the beach in frot of me.  My estimate suggests that there must have been over a 100 Mediterranean Gulls in total making use of the beach this morning.  So, a dozen species and not bad for about a forty minute walk at most.

Birds seen:
Cormorant, Mediterranean Gull, Back-headed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Rock Dove, Collared Dove, Monk Parakeet, Blackbird, Sardinian Warbler, Woodchat Shrike, Spotless Starling, House Sparrow.



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